Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category

Most Interesting Call for HACK-THE-CITY Submissions

05 Dec

Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland is seeking proposals for an upcoming major exhibition HACK THE CITY, offering up to 5K for doing stuff like

  • Installations
  • Mass-participation experiments
  • Events
  • Performances
  • New products/services/start-ups
  • Workshops
  • Apps
  • Visualizations, maps and mashups

Call Opens: Monday 5th December

Call Closes: Friday 20th January

Exhibition duration: 22 June 2012 – 07 September 2012

Lots of detail here:


“Smishing” – latest craze in the cybercriminal world

19 Jan

Combine “Phishing” (tricking you into entering your personal information, usually via faked e-mails & websites) with “SMS” and you get… “Smishing!

This is the latest trend emerging for cybercriminals, used to describe the practice of sending fake SMS messages “from” banks to unlisted numbers, usually saying that the account has been frozen and to ring a toll free number to unfreeze it. The toll free number then asks to caller to enter their 16 digit bank account number – then disconnects.  This information is then used to rip off the bank accounts.

The act of replying to these smishing messages also serves to confirm the unlisted number as active and puts it onto future text-spam lists.

What to do if you get a Smishing text message?  Don’t respond in any way (and if you’re really dedicated, notify the bank in question.)


De-Vuvuzelate me, Baby

18 Jun

Some helpful lads in Queen Mary’s University in London have come up with a clever piece of software which “de-Vuvuzelates” your telly signal, rendering impotent that irritating drone which accompanies all world cup matches.

In case you’ve managed to somehow avoid all the excitement, the drone is caused by an incredibly loud and irrating plastic horn blown at football matches by everybody in South Africa: the Vuvuzela.  The effect on telly is like a swarm of angry wasps hanging just outside your living room door.

The catch is, you need to be watching the world cup on your computer using software that can use the plugin.  Still, we applaud the effort. First Ever Person to Change Their Name to a Website!

27 Aug

Claire Forshaw of Manchester has changed her name by deed poll to, in the process become the first person ever to change his/her name to a website.


Claire, 24, decided to change her name when she was drunk one night and because “it would be a laugh and it only costs a tenner”.  She plans to sell her art from the site and the story has got her lots of interviews and attention.

The bank had no problem using her new name; Facebook refused, however.

See more here.


Bill Gates Hates Facebook

10 Aug

billgates“Facebook performed an illegal operation and should be shut down” said Bill Gates speaking on a recent tour to India.

Bill signed up and promptly got 10,000 requests to be his “friend”, which he admits overwhelmed him.  He especially found the process of reviewing new friend requests too arduous.  I wonder how far he got?

Read the full story here.


Earth Nearly Full.

03 Aug

It is estimated that 1.5 exabytes (1.5 x 10^18) of unique new information will be generated worldwide this year. That’s estimated to be more than in the previous 5,000 years.


..according to Glimpse of the Future by Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod.


How Many Domains are Registered?

03 Jul

Some bitch’n’moan about the hoops one has to jump through to register a .ie domain.  The upside to it, however, is that if you really want a domain, it’s probably still available for you to register – unlike, say, .com or .net domains which have just about every name under the sun already snapped up. 

To give an indication of just how precious Ireland is about allowing a .ie domain to be registered, check out the latest worldwide registration figures (.ie appears very last but one).

Domain registration statistics
TLD Amount
com 79,589,979 Global Generic
cn 14,082,553 China
de 12,610,349 Germany
net 12,111,836 Global Generic
org 7,490,590 Global Generic
uk 7,463,345 United Kingdom
info 5,137,569 Global Generic
nl 3,298,302 Netherlands
eu 3,044,466 European Union
biz 2,027,056 Global Generic
ru 1,771,010 Russia
it 1,651,272 Italy
us 1,443,858 United States
br 1,576,585 Brazil
fr 1,356,666 France
pl 1,331,379 Poland
au 1,303,887 Australia
ch 1,244,567 Switzerland
ca 1,165,691 Canada
jp 1,075,852 Japan
es 1,129,947 Spain
kr 1,005,808s Korea
dk 980,183 Denmark
be 879,913 Belgium
se 865,362 Sweden
mobi 844,681 Global Generic
at 828,158 Austria
cz 526,128 Czech
no 422,116 Norway
nz 351,464 New Zealand
mx 288,871 Mexico
pt 286,246 Portugal
asia 246,320 Asia Pacific
cl 236,706 Chile
fi 203,179 Finland
tr 186,573 Turkey
sk 180,339 Slovakia
hk 174,722 Hong Kong
ie 119,998 Ireland
lt 98,256 Lithuania

How Facebook is Gunning for Google (And Killing SEO)

22 Jun

An enlightening post from

This weekend, my mother-in-law asked me to enter a life of crime.

Not in the real world, of course – she’d like the father of her grandkids to remain jail-free. No, instead she invited me to play that Mafia game that’s so popular on Facebook.

Not interested in the game, I politely declined. But when my mother-in-law, who has just joined Facebook, becomes part of an online trend, that’s a sure sign that it’s hitting critical mass in the population at large.

Facebook is quickly becoming the immovable object that will soon butt heads with Google’s irresistible force.

Strength In Overwhelming Numbers

Facebook claims that its subscriber base doubled in size between February and April of 2009 – just sixty days. That’s not only impressive for a site as huge as Facebook already is, but it means that your mother-in-law is likely on Facebook just like mine, and one of them is probably about to order a Mafia hit on the other.

That growing audience means traffic to any website that gets a link on Facebook. How much traffic? The analysts at Hitwise claim that celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton now gets more traffic from Facebook than from Google – more than 7 million pageviews from Facebook alone. If that trend increases, then the current wisdom about web traffic is about to get turned on its ear…

Read on at


Brilliant Javascript Graphics Demo

22 Jun

Mr Doob does it again!  Check out to see an amazing 3D graphic demo, all done using Javascript.  This means that there are no big fat graphics servers in the background, it’s all done and calculated and displayed within your browser.  Responds to mouse movement too.


Sometimes seems to have problems displaying in IE7 so check it out using Firefox or Google Chrome.


Clever Spammers! Part 4

13 Jun

Another phishing tale…

…so I got a spam into my inbox today; ostensibly from PayPal, got through my spam filters:



Call me Sherlock, but the sender’s address didn’t fool me.  It’s clever, because it has paypal in the name, but it’s from not from PayPal.

So I looked at where the “Click Here to Remove Account Limitations” link really led, which was to  Visiting this URL would let the spammer know that specifically I had clicked on his e-mail. This information could put me on a more active targeting list for spam and phishing attacks, so I removed the coded bit at the end so that I could see the site without them knowing it was me.

The landing site was, as expected, a perfect replica of the PayPal login site, only a very different URL:


I made up a login loosely based around Mickey Mouse’s details which it gladly accepted and led me straight into another page copied from the genuine PayPal screen:


..the details requested carry on down a few pages, including requests for 2 credit card details, PIN numbers, etc: they almost wanted to know what my great grandmother’s favourite colour was.

If I wasn’t so suspicious of URLs, I can see how many people could have entered their details without suspicion.

After entering all your details straight into the fraudster’s database, it directs you straight to the real PayPal login screen.  A pretty flawless and demonstration of a phishing attack, apart from asking for too much information, perhaps.  I wonder how many PayPal accounts they managed to steal?